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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Red Ember Mine in Massachusetts: "Gar"-net Almandine Versus Trout Almondine

     Red Ember Mine garnets were discovered in the last six years in the town of Erving in Franklin County in western Massachusetts.




     The spectacular gems are highlighted and backlit in the surrounding black graphite matrix in the above image. Without the backlighting they appear more purplish in color:




         Garnets are a group of nesosilicate minerals that are used both as gemstones and as abrasives. The 6 different types of garnets are pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular, uvarovite and andradite. The Red Ember Mine garnets are primarily almandine (hence "gar" (the fish) net almandine.) No, no fishnets are involved. ;-)




      The first three garnet types are in one solid solution series and the last three are in another. Neither series is associated with trout almondine :-).



      The word garnet is derived from its color. The deep red color of some garnets reminded the French of a red-skinned fruit. In early French, the fruit was called pomme grenate or "seedy apple." This later became pomegranate in English.




      The early French word grenate, meaning "seedy," is the source of the adjective grenat, meaning "red like a pomegranate." This word was then used as a noun to refer to the deep-red gemstone. When transferred into English, grenat became garnet. 

         As we've discussed here at PEOTS before, color is not a reliable mineral characteristic. Garnet actually occurs in a variety of colors from red to orange to yellow to green to indigo to violet. Blue garnets are extremely rare and tend toward indigo:




             A black to gray graphite matrix for garnets, as in western Massachusetts, 



shows off the garnets extraordinarily:



       Have you seen garnets in colors other than pomegranate? Or, perhaps, have you seen the Red Ember Mine garnets? I sense another field trip in our future. . .

        And here's an image of the "Subway Garnet" (or whatever you'd like to call it) found in Manhattan, NYC, and housed at the American Museum of Natural History:





Emberly yours,
Steph


P.S. Speaking of field trips, here are a few images of cryptobiotic soil from David in Utah as well as one bodacious cairn:



      






And multiple multiple cairns:






56 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. How can anyone tell they didn't come from cod, or do any other genealogy with people who don't have last names, but just stick "son" or "dottir" on their parent's name?

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    2. Good point, jan.

      I'm from cod, Cape Cod, in the summers anyway. . .

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    3. Lots of blasphemy while stuck in bridge traffic to be Bourne-again.

      (My wife's family used to refer to the omnipresent summer weekend Connecticut River bridge traffic on I-95 as Lyme disease.)

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    4. Yes, my friends have circumvented the issue by buying property on the west side of Buzzard's Bay so no bridge traffic but they are still on the bay.

      Sad but true: Lyme disease.

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  2. Erving isn't far from your old stomping grounds, Steph. A little poking around on the web shows that this discovery was made by a guy from Flemington, NJ, not far from me. Have you been in touch with him?

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    Replies
    1. Not yet. I will likely contact him before my next trip east to see my mom and family. I do have an email out to my geology profs asking if they have been able to gain access. . .

      I recall finding extraordinary garnets in the Connecticut River Valley area but none so striking as these on the graphite matrix.

      I always think of Franklin, NJ, in concert with fluorescent minerals. And here, this guy finds cool garnets in Franklin County, MA. Lighting minerals up, with fluorescent and normal light, is a familiar thing to you New Jersey folks. . .

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    2. Not being a rockhound, I usually use my psychedelic black light in conjunction with fluorescein dye to diagnose corneal abrasions. You geologists probably just use them with your lava lamps....

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  3. Almandine is apparently also called carbuncle, which has a medical meaning as well. I can see the resemblance. The Prince of Wales uses the term to refer to modernist architecture.

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    Replies
    1. I want to unsee that first carbuncle image.

      And I thought carbuncle was your mom's or dad's brother who likes potatos, rice, and pasta.

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    2. There's a good reason I didn't post the picture from Wikipedia on a family blog!

      ... and your furuncle is the one who can get you a good price on a mink.

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  4. Replies
    1. Steph,

      Lots of great word-info in this week's PEOTS. Kevin Garnett used to sparkle playing hoops in Massachusetts, for the Celtics.


      jan,

      I guess, to paraphrase a former prez and possible future first gentleman, "it depends upon what the meaning of the word Isis is."

      LegoPerhapsTheyCouldChangeTheirStore'sNameFromIsisToIsil

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    2. Is is is--clever, Lego. We can hope for was was was, I suppose.

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  5. Replies
    1. I'm not going to lose a lot of sleep over this. Yet another viral infection without really specific symptoms, no specific treatment, and no vaccine. Not much to do clinically but supportive and symptom treatment. With global warming, we'll be seeing more formerly tropical diseases in temperate zones.

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    2. Thanks for your perspective, jan.

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  6. 1755 Massachusetts Earthquake on Cape Ann: Since we are discussing geology and the Cranberry State, we may as well get bogged down in earthquakes, too. . .;-)

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    Replies
    1. "The shaking was so intense that the crew of one ship off the Boston coast became convinced the vessel had run aground, and did not learn about the earthquake until they reached land."

      I've never heard of an earthquake being felt aboard a ship at sea. It's a bit counter-intuitive. Especially odd that it could be perceived as running aground, which is a pretty unmistakable feeling.

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    2. Yeah, there's a lot of things that don't quite add up such as that steeple perched so precariously in the woodcut.

      "Affrighttened" seems ripe for a word puzzle of some sort.

      Both my mom and sister were born in Gloucester on Cape Ann so we spent summers there until we switched to Cape Cod when my grandparents sold their cottage. I learned how to swim at Plum Cove so Cape Ann definitely shook up my world (in a good way).

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    3. Glou-ces-ter... isn't that where that Russian submarine commanded by Alan Arkin ran aground? (No mistaking that for an earthquake!) "E-mer-gency -- Everybody to get from street!"

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    4. Funny coincidence: right after I posted that, the IAAF announced that, as regards the world indoor track & field championship in Portland next March, the Russians won't be coming.

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  7. Replies
    1. I dated a guy at the U of AZ who was studying dunghills or middens in Arizona caves. Whenever anyone asked "How are you?" he'd say "Fair to midden. . ."

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    2. "Affrighttened"... yes, puzzle possibilities!

      That "fair to midden" guy you dated. What is his screen name over on Blaine's blog? He would sh... , I mean, fit right in!

      Time to consider renaming either our 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th month to something that better evokes the bonfire burst of bosky autumn color:
      Redember!

      LegoPerhahsIOughtToRenameMy"Smitten"KittenAs"Smidden!"

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  8. RedEmber - I like it, Lego!

    And Happy Julia Child Day to all. . .

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  9. Replies
    1. I'm thinking not since it WAS man (person) made. . .

      Cairn very much here,
      Steph

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    2. Perhaps you are privy (uh-oh, here we go again (still)) to information which I am not.

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    3. Uh huh. Yes, cairns are person made. Always, as far as I know...

      I will see if I can dig up a photo of a big rock slab in Canyonlands, Utah, with hundreds on cairns on it. . .

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    4. Who said the picture in question was of a CAIRN?

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    5. David who sent me the image. Sorry, maybe I didn't say that. . .

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    6. Rest away. . .but I checked the text and it is there. . .

      "P.S. Speaking of field trips, here are a few images of cryptobiotic soil from David in Utah as well as one bodacious cairn:"

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    7. So you DID say it
















      Maybe you did; maybe







      Entrapment, plain and simple.
      :)










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    8. I thought the cairn was man-made, but I didn't see its construction, so maybe ...

      Anyway, I have never been places where so many of the hikes were marked by cairns. Most of our prior park visits had trails that were clearly trails, well worn paths that were easy to follow. This time, it helped to have two sets of eyes to keep us from getting lost (or at least, on trail).

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    9. Cairns are favorite rock towers. I added a few multi cairns above. . .

      Yes, the cairns getting to Delicate Arch and other arches thankfully mark the trail on bare rock. Otherwise, there's lots of wandering in the desert. . .

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    10. Agreed. Some of those are pretty wild. . .

      Ha,lite just went on!

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  10. Replies
    1. The wind was phenomenal. A fence post blow right in front of me. Scary stuff.

      And now? More snow.

      Great graphic, Jan.

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  11. I remember seeing garnets in the rock excavated for Bear Swamp in Hoosac Tunnel when I was growing up. My dad was superintendent of the upper Deerfield, so we were around the project a lot.

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    Replies
    1. Did you collect any garnets, Joanne?

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    2. Dad was able to bring some home to us from the excavation of the underground powerhouse. I am not sure where they are now, though. It's been decades.

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  12. For curmudgeons and those who love them, these words are from the eulogy given yesterday for my dear friend:

    "Dad was a proud curmudgeon. It’s easy to see a curmudgeon as a grumpy and ill-tempered codger. There is some truth to that, but it misses the point. A curmudgeon is someone who knows the dangers of false sentimentality and finds ways to challenge disingenuous words and deeds. It’s more of a cause than a condition or mood. Dad experienced those dangers more than once in his life."

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